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All Things Bright and Beautiful - the lost verse

 
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admin
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 12:22 pm    Post subject: All Things Bright and Beautiful - the lost verse Reply with quote

I suspect it is just modern political thought - the implication that as God has made one high or lowly that is where one should stay is uncomfortable in this age of meritocracy. The words can be found here: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/a/l/allthing.htm

Quote:
I am trying to find some information about a change in the lyrics to All Things Bright and Beautiful. In old hymn books, it contains the verse beginning with "The rich man in his castle", but this verse is missing from more recent versions. Do you know why this is the case? Or, can you help me find out? Its just a mystery that I find interesting.

Thanks very much.
God Bless,
Allan Wade
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lancecornea



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 526
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is what the Australian Hymn Book "Together in Song" does to the verses of that hymn to make it relevant to Aussies:

The wildflowers in their beauty,
the mountain ranges tall,
the billabongs and rivers,
and friendly birds that call

Refrain

The coloured walls of gorges.
the gum trees green and tall,
the rocks, the pools, the palm trees,
the sparkling waterfall

Refrain

The many coloured corals,
the creatures of the sea,
of bushland, field or desert,
on farms, or roaming free

Refrain

It makes me want to throw up, although friendly birds giving me a call would be quite acceptable Laughing

Lance
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Jason Evans



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 12:46 am    Post subject: Re: All Things Bright and Beautiful - the lost verse Reply with quote

admin wrote:
I suspect it is just modern political thought...

Or modern progressive thought? Perhaps it's my generation or the fact that I'm half-American, but I find that verse utterly disgraceful in the extreme. What a helluva condescending piece of tripe that verse is. To borrow a Gilbertian phrase: "they'd none of 'em be missed."

One could politely ask Mr. Allan Wade: just what were you fishing for in your inquiry? I would have thought the answer to that obvious, but perhaps an admission instead that NEH is a retrograde step? Jeez, it is no wonder The Church of England is seen by so many to be hopelessly irrelevant. Evil or Very Mad
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Andrew Butler
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another verse I have seen (many years ago)

And all the dogs and horses,
the friendly cows and sheep;
God gave us all his flowers
and animals to keep

Oh, and has anyone heard the version on the SciFi channel advert?
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diapason8



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you seen the 'amended', politically correct, version of the 'rich man' verse:

The poor man in his castle,
the rich man at the gate.
The charge is seven and sixpence
to look round the estate.

Rolling Eyes

N
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admin
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:04 pm    Post subject: Re: All Things Bright and Beautiful - the lost verse Reply with quote

Jason Evans wrote:
admin wrote:
I suspect it is just modern political thought...

Or modern progressive thought? Perhaps it's my generation or the fact that I'm half-American, but I find that verse utterly disgraceful in the extreme. What a helluva condescending piece of tripe that verse is.

But in the context of the time it was written entirely reasonable..? In some circles (not mine!) it is also considered that everything one does is pre-ordained, in which case "He made them, high or lowly, and ordered their estate" is a theological statement. And "ordered their estate" is presumably not a fixed order and leaves room for change - "up" or "down"?

I didn't think that verse was in any modern hymnal (ie: since about 1930) - I'd be amazed if it was in NEH (1986).

John.
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Jason Evans



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 5:14 am    Post subject: Re: All Things Bright and Beautiful - the lost verse Reply with quote

admin wrote:
I didn't think that verse was in any modern hymnal (ie: since about 1930) - I'd be amazed if it was in NEH (1986).

My original post implied that this silly verse is not in NEH. And it isn't.

However, I still wish that the original perpetrator of that utterly naive question might come forth and just tell us: what kind of answer were you asking for? Maybe he thought this forum was comprised of elderly, blind Anglicans. But this youngster, at least, found it all so utterly shabby.

Where are you, wickedchorister and Tom? You can dress the background theology up as much as you wish, but you can't take it out anymore.
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admin
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:35 am    Post subject: Re: All Things Bright and Beautiful - the lost verse Reply with quote

Jason Evans wrote:
You can dress the background theology up as much as you wish, but you can't take it out anymore.

Indeed Laughing
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diapason8



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must agree with admin, that, whilst to us in the 21st century (even to elderly anglicans like me) this verse seems patronising in the extreme; it was, in it's time, accepted as the norm. Remember, Mrs Alexander lived from 1818 to 1895. In 1831, only 4,500 men , out of a population of more than 2.6 million people, were entitled to vote in parliamentary elections. The'Great' Reform Act of 1832 gave the vote in towns only to men who occupied property with an annual value of £10, which excluded six adult males out of seven and all women, from the voting process. So, when Mrs Alexander wrote that verse, she was simply reflecting the political realities of her time. Many other Victorian hymns contain theology which we would now question, just as the Victorian hymn writers were questioning earlier theologies. Doubtless, fifty years hence,many will be questioning the theologies expressed in the hymns of, say, Fred Pratt-Green, John Bell and Graham Kendrick. . Eliot commented that ‘The church must be forever building, for it is forever decaying within and attacked from without ………… Much to cast down, much to build, much to restore ;Let the work not delay, time and the arm not waste’. So, and as we're discussing hymnody I make no apology for quoting yet another Victorian, Henry Francis Lyte, "change and decay in all around I see". But, I must ask the question, is all change, always, synonymous with decay? And again, to really throw the cat amongst the pigeons, should we be changing the words of hymns, simply because we feel that `social circumstances, the meanings of words or theological ideologies have changes since they were written. What right do we have to change someone else's poetry? And will the PC brigade start altering Shakespeare next?

Nigel
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Jason Evans



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nigel,

Thanks for your comments (from the elder statesman on the board?... just kidding Razz ) and input. Yet I question the relevance of Shakespeare in this discussion. Shakespeare's writings transcend their time and -to me, at least- have little to do with Elizabethan/Jacobean theologies as related to worship in the church. Alexander's poem, on the other hand, is stuck in its time and was intended for church worship with little regard for future values.

Why not change it? It's no masterpiece, and I would hate for some unsuspecting soul to stumble into an Anglican service where this is sung and wonder what we've all been smoking.

This is not to say that I favour changing words indiscriminately just because they aren't PC. There was a fuss some years back over Simon Rattle's recording of Show Boat because the original words to Old Man River , "Colored folks on the Mississippi..." were not changed to accomodate modern taste. Show Boat is a masterpiece very much reflecting its time; it is not a hymn to be sung in a house of God.
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diapason8



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Location: West Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mentioned Shakespeare to highlight that nothing seems to be 'sacred' (ie too valuable ) to be changed - and usually dumbed-down -by the rampaging PC brigade. All things b&b is hardly a 'highbrow' text, but, it is relevant as a product of its time. I worked briefly for a priest who refused to allow many well-loved hymns to be sung because, in his words, "people these days won't understand them". Surely, the answer is, to spend a minute explaining the words and the context in which they were written, rather than to ban or change them. 30 seconds spent in explaining to a congregation the political situation when the 'rich man' verse was written will allow the hymn to be sung, as the motto of the RSCM says, "with the spirit, and with the understanding also".

N
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